An apostle’s final instructions to fellow Christians headed out to live in a pagan world…

holding-tight-when-your-teen-rebelsI can still remember the moments… As a teen, I’m headed out the door for a date or on a journey, maybe headed to college… My mom is standing at the door, holding my jacket, I give her a kiss and then it happens… “the talk!” – 26 things to remember and not forget!  Warnings, admonitions, recommendations, etc.  Over the years I’ve asked my students at the university how many remember “the talk?”  Without exception they roll their eyes and every hand goes up!  I’m sure many of you reading this post have not only received “the talk” – you’ve given “the talk!”

Toward the end of Apostle Paul’s letter to the believers in Roman he gives “the talk” – Admonitions and reminders of how “justified” Christians ought to live… You see, it’s one thing to “get right with God” (i.e. be “justified”) – it’s quite another to authentically “live it out” in daily life in a “pagan” culture!  So as Apostle Paul brings his letter to the Romans to a close here is what he had to say (jacket in hand as they are about to go out the door into Roman culture as Christ followers)…

 

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.

Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

Love each other with genuine affection,

Take delight in honoring each other.

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

Rejoice in our confident hope.

Be patient in trouble,

Keep on praying.

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.

Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

Live in harmony with each other.

Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Never pay back evil with more evil.

Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Instead, If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”

(From Romans 12:9–21 NLT)

 

I’m headed out the door this morning into a world that desperately needs the Lord!  OK!  OK! Paul, I hear you!  I really do want to “live out being ‘right with God’ – I want the “Christianity” I exhibit to be practical and authentic!  I hear you Paul!  I hear you!

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